Meaty Tips for Holding Shoppers in a Tough Economy

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Meaty Tips for Holding Shoppers in a Tough Economy

With the percentage of Americans eating at home at an all-time recent-years’ high, new research from the Washington, D.C.-based American Meat Institute (AMI) finds more than half (52 percent) of survey participants readily admitting they aren’t as good as their moms when it comes to selecting and preparing meats (present company included).

A mere 27 percent of those surveyed said their skills in selecting and preparing meat are as good as their mothers, with only one in five (21 percent) daring to say theirs are actually better. Not surprisingly, Young America was found to have a steeper learning curve. Nearly one-quarter (23 percent) of Americans 35 years and older claim to be better than their mothers at selecting and preparing meat vs. 17 percent of their younger counterparts.

With these findings in mind, AMI is offering retailers a free consumer brochure — “A Consumer’s Guide to the Meat Case” — aimed at demystifying how to select and prepare the 150 different cuts of fresh beef, pork, lamb and veal available in today’s abundant meat case. The guide, designed to be carried in a purse or pocket, contains convenient grids depicting each cut, its regional and fanciful name, and the cooking methods that can be used to prepare it.

“Meat is a delicious and nutritious part of a healthy balanced diet, offering a huge nutrition return for every calorie consumed,” notes AMI’s Janet Riley. “We hope this free guide will help consumers select meat confidently and prepare these cuts so they will be satisfying and enjoyable.”

The handy-dandy guide also describes dry heat cooking, like roasting and grilling; moist heat cooking, like simmering and slow cooking; and combination cooking, which uses both techniques.

The AMI study, incidentally, was conducted by Kelton Research between Feb. 9-12, 2009, using an e-mail invitation and an online survey. Quotas were set to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total U.S. population ages 18 and over.

“A Consumer’s Guide to the Meat Case” may be downloaded at

Parting thought: The impact of the economic downturn on fresh meat sales at retail is a red-hot topic among retailers. To this end, our friends at Midan Marketing and Shugoll Research collaborated once again in 2009 to understand changes in consumer purchase decisions regarding branded and nonbranded fresh meat products given the current economic environment.

Expanding on the 2008 Power of Brands research study, Danette Amstein, principal, Midan Marketing, and Merrill Shugoll, president, Shugoll Research, will present results of this research at next week’s 2009 Annual Meat Conference (March 8-10, at the Sheraton Denver Hotel) during a timely workshop: Holding Onto Your Customers in a Tough Economy: Insights From New Consumer Research and Actual Meat and Poultry Sales Data.

The presentation will include:

Consumer research to provide insight into changes in consumer attitudes, including which proteins, cuts and brands are being selected.

Retail sales data from FreshLook Marketing to help participants understand shifts in buying patterns within and between proteins.

A snapshot of shifts in branded and nonbranded protein purchases to serve as a valuable retail channel benchmark.

A roundtable format will provide the opportunity for discussion and added insights.

Participants will be able to discuss challenges and opportunities with each other and find a solution to current issues at the meat case.

We will report back on the information revealed during the workshop, but in the interim, more information is available at or